Today, Chapple, Katie, Myra, and I took a drive down to Dry Falls in Highlands, NC. It was the perfect end to a relaxing day in the mountains. As we began walking down the pathway toward the waterfall, we heard the faint sound of rushing water. Full of excitement, Myra and Katie raced to the guardrail to capture the moment on camera, but Chapple encouraged us, “Keep walking, guys. The best spot is at the bottom!” Every few feet, we had the urge to stop and take in the beauty of God’s creation but Chapple drew us on further stating, “I promise it gets better y’all. Just keep on coming. You have to make it to the bottom.” When we finally reached the end, I understood why Chapple wanted us to wait. The powerful rush of water cascading down the rocks was most magnificent and appreciated at the bottom. Only here could the falls be viewed in its entirety. And only here could the magnitude of the falls be experienced. The LORD has created hope and a future for us (Jeremiah 29:11), but in life we so often rush to the guardrail in desperation or excitement that we miss God’s BEST for us. Where we have been may be good, and where we are now may be better, but where God wants to take us is the BEST. He desires the absolute best for us: an abundant life. We just have to be patient and abide in Him to experience everything He intended for us. Once we get to the end, we will understand why God chose to close those doors and why He allowed us to go through trials or failures. Surrender your life completely to the LORD and allow the river to sweep you away…you never know when He will bring you to the next waterfall.
Archive for the 'encouragement' Category
We have to start challenging each other more as believers and the body of Christ.
Every day there is a story about someone who is suing for millions of dollars because they were offended in some way. “Gay white guy wins $1.2 million in race lawsuit,” “Former Medina police chief wins $2 million discrimination lawsuit,” “Man too terrified of frogs to leave his house wins $1.6M lawsuit.” These are legitimate headlines from a quick Google News search for “wins lawsuit for millions.” We have been inundated with these stories and “political correctness” to the point that we live with a fear of offending someone. But I would also be bold enough to propose that we live our lives seeking to be offended. Whether we have done it knowingly or not, we have decided that we are more valuable than our neighbor. Don’t believe me? We are daily up in arms about someone who cut us off in traffic, didn’t show up on time, broke in line, or spoke to us with a mean tone. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? No… That question is not directed at the person that just offended you… It’s directed at YOU and ME. How do you find yourself to be of such great value that you can justify looking down on someone else?
We as the church MUST humble ourselves before our neighbors… and our brothers and sisters in Christ! Paul says, “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters” (1 Cor 6:7-8). I see Paul as saying, “Look at yourselves! Quit it! What are you thinking?” We must wash ourselves of the worldly mindset we have taken on!
If I walked up to you and pointed out your sin, would you thank me? Or would you ask me who I was to judge you like that? Brothers and sisters! We must open our eyes to the depravity and severity of sin! We have offended a HOLY and RIGHTEOUS GOD who does not look upon our sin lightly! We have come to the point where we have trapped ourselves as believers. “I don’t want to point out his sin, because he might be offended.” Why do you think he would be offended? Is it because WE would be offended? Brothers and sisters! Whether it is you rebuking or you being rebuked, consider the severity of our sin! In that light, we must reconsider our position on both sides of rebuke. Someone has a word of rebuke for you? Accept it with open arms! Hopefully it will cut like a sword into your soul, but what a minimum price to pay to be made aware of your sin! Would you rather walk along blindly, unaware of your sin? Or would you rather be made aware of it so you can repent and turn to the LORD for redemption from that sin? If you have ever been rebuked, you know the beauty of the entire process. Hopefully, you are able to look back on rebuke with thanksgiving that someone would care enough about you to point out your sin! Welcome rebuke and exhortation!
On the other hand, brothers and sisters, how dare we not point out another believer’s sin? If we walk alongside another believer, continually blinding ourselves to their sin, then we stand in full acceptance of their sin. We have minimized sin’s severity and thus minimized God’s holiness. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Of course we have to properly rebuke our fellow believer in love, but we must still rebuke! We cannot sit idly by as our brother or sister walks along with a poisonous snake crawling up their leg! JESUS said, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you” (Matt 18:15). Would you not want someone to point out YOUR sin (As I discussed above, this is more than likely the root of our problem.)? There is too much at stake for us to continue to minimize sin in our lives and our brothers’ and sisters’ lives!!!